Axolotls are quickly becoming more popular as an aquarium pet. There isn’t a lot of information out there yet about axolotls since they haven’t been in the home aquarium world as long as other aquarium pets like the all-American goldfish.
One of the most frequently asked questions from curious observers or axolotl owners is, do axolotls have teeth?
Axolotls have teeth on their upper and lower jaws. Axolotls teeth are designed to grip their food after they suck it into their mouth and then swallow their food whole. Their teeth are part of a cartilaginous skeleton that doesn’t completely calcify like that of a fish. Axolotls teeth cannot harm a human.
People who ask this are probably asking this because they are wondering if they or their child will get bitten if they decide to purchase and raise an axolotl.
So, rest assured, even though an axolotl has teeth they can’t hurt you which leads us to another oft asked question…
Do Axolotls Bite?
Axolotls do bite but if they do bite you, it will probably make you laugh rather than cry out in pain. Axolotls are fearsome predators in their freshwater lakes that we took them from. At least to creatures that are small enough to fit into their mouths haha…
To us humans, they are just laughable cartoonish characters that are often named toothless after the dragon from ‘How to Train Your Dragon’. It isn’t exactly because they don’t have teeth, but it is because their face looks like that of toothless from the cartoon.
They will bite you a lot, especially at first when you bring them home if you put your fingers into the water a lot. They will also bite you a lot if you try to feed them by hand which is the most recommended way to feed them.
However, when they do bite you, their teeth feel like sandpaper or Velcro. It may surprise you, especially the first time they latch onto your finger. Their teeth feel rubber and softer than what we think of teeth as felling.
If your axolotl does bite you, you should just stay calm and wait for them to let go of your finger. When they realize that they can’t eat it, they will let go. Don’t try to pull your finger out of the axolotl’s mouth because their teeth are actually so sensitive that you may damage their teeth.
If you do damage their teeth though, don’t fret as axolotls can regenerate practically their whole body.
Axolotls will also bite other axolotls. It is not recommended to keep other aquatic pets with your axolotl because of so many horror stories of smaller axolotls or fish missing body parts or disappearing altogether.
You shouldn’t keep other species like fish with your axolotl anyways as axolotls are prone to foreign parasites that fish can easily bring in under the radar. Also, axolotls are predators that will try to eat anything that will fit into their mouths.
You can keep another axolotl with yours but there are some guidelines you need to be aware of:
Always make sure the axolotls are the same size or the larger one will eat the smaller one.
Always make sure they are of the same sex o the female will be bred way too much to live a healthy life.
Always keep an eye on how they interact regardless of size or sex. Some axolotls just want to be alone and will attack the other axolotl regardless. If this happens you will probably have to get rid of the aggressor and adopt or buy another axolotl.
The easiest way to pair axolotls is to purchase two axolotls that have already been living together for a while and are getting along.
Do Axolotls Have Sharp Teeth?
Axolotls don’t have sharp teeth because their teeth are designed for gripping their food, not for piercing or chewing their food like we do. They actually eat their food by sucking into their mouths and swallowing it whole.
This is why it can be comical when a vicious axolotl tries to eat your finger. Even though they are vicious predators, they will let go of you finger because they can not swallow it. If they could they probably wouldn’t be becoming such a popular aquarium pet. They would be bettor suited for horror movies.
How Do Axolotls Eat Their Food?
Axolotls are carnivorous predators, so they eat primarily meat and a lot of it. As stated above they will pounce on anything moving in their aquarium that is smaller than their mouth, even your finger!
They have small teeth that are sharp but are made for gripping their food and barely piercing it, which some scientists believe is so their digestive enzymes can enter the food through the piercings and help with digestion.
It is recommended that you hand feed your axolotl so you can get used to each other and so you can examine your axolotl when it is up close to eat.
The axolotl will nip and bite at your fingers a lot, but its teeth are not big enough to pierce your skin so don’t worry. They usually are fed worms so just hold the worm in the water and let them suck it out from between your fingers.
If the worm is too big for the axolotl to swallow whole then chop it into smaller pieces.